Tuesday, June 22, 1999 | 1:39 a.m.
Albertson's will sell all 19 of its Las Vegas stores to Raley's Supermarkets to receive government approval to take over the 26 Lucky stores here, officials said today.
Boise-based Albertson's and the Federal Trade Commission this afternoon were expected to announce an agreement in which Albertson's would sell about 140 of its stores in California, Nevada and New Mexico in order to gain approval of its merger with American Stores Co., Salt Lake City, owner of Lucky grocery stores and Sav-On drug stores.
The Federal Trade Commission forced the sale so that Albertson's would be in compliance with federal antitrust law.
Nevada Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa said her office was involved in the FTC investigation of the merger. Del Papa called a news conference for this morning to announce Albertson's will sell all 19 of its Las Vegas stores plus one future store site.
Raley's, a chain based in Sacramento, does not currently operate here but has 14 stores in Northern Nevada.
Del Papa said the divestiture will maintain competition in the Las Vegas grocery market.
"The price of groceries affects everyone," Del Papa said. "We want to ensure that customers are offered fair prices at the grocery store -- and robust competition is one of the best ways to guarantee that."
Raley's expects to be operating the Las Vegas Albertson's stores by mid-September, Del Papa said.
The $8.3 billion deal between Albertson's and American Stores was announced last summer and shareholders for both companies approved it in November.
Other Las Vegas competitors are Smith's and PriceRite, which are operated by the Kroger Co. Kroger last month received FTC approval for its acquisition of Fred Meyer Inc. And Vons Cos. is owned by Safeway Inc.
The deal would create the nation's second largest supermarket chain behind the Cincinnati-based Kroger.
Raley's is also buying eight stores from Albertson's in New Mexico. Raley's said it is the 38th largest supermarket chain in the nation.